After nearly two years, the HD 7970 has been superseded as AMD’s flagship video card by the R9 290X and replaced by the R9 280X. We tested a VisionTek HD 7970 recently and concluded it was still a good match for the GTX 770. Last week, Nvidia lowered the GTX 770 pricing from $399 to $329 while including a game bundle, and it is now positioned directly against the VisionTek R9 280X which is priced about the same.
When the HD 7970 first launched in December 2011, it was $550. Since then, the pricing has dropped so that in the United States, the reference HD 7970 is currently priced from just below $289 with mail-in-rebate to about $409 for a now-discontinued VisionTek HD 7970 with a flexible 3-game bundle. Its replacement, the VisionTek R9 280X is priced at $299 at Newegg, but without a game bundle.
We want to see how the R9 280X compares with a stock HD 7970 as well as to one clocked to GHz Edition Boost speeds. Naturally, we will compare the 280X with the reference GTX 770 ($329) as well as to the $499 reference EVGA GTX 780.
The R9 280X vs. the HD 7970 vs. the GTX 770/GTX 780
The reference version of the HD 7970 is clocked at 925/1375MHz while the more expensive GHz Edition is clocked at 1000/1500MHz with a boost of an extra 50MHz available to the core. The R9 280X is a rebadge of the HD 7970 with a slightly different BIOS and is clocked at a fixed 1000/1500MHz. The R9 280X is priced starting at $299, including the VisionTek 280X.
The reference GTX 770 can be found for as little as $329 and it is generally sold with a three game bundle as well as with a $100 Shield discount. We will benchmark using the reference version of the GTX 770 and a reference EVGA GTX 780. We will also bench our VisionTek HD 7970, clocked at reference and at GHz Edition speeds. We need to ask, is a GTX 770 2GB video card worth $30 more than a 3GB VisionTek R9 280X?
The VisionTek R9 280X versus the reference and GHz Edition HD 7970 versus the reference GTX 770, and overclocked versus the reference GTX 780
For this evaluation, you will see us pit the VisionTek R9 280X against the reference and GHz Edition HD 7970, and against the reference GTX 770 at stock clocks. We are also going to compare with the EVGA reference GTX 780 to see how well the overclocked VisionTek 280X Radeon does. For this evaluation, we are benching 31 modern games and 4 synthetic benchmarks at 1920×1080 and 2560×1600 resolutions.
Since we do not want any chance of our CPU “bottlenecking” our graphics, we are testing all of our graphics cards by using our Ivy Bridge Intel Core i7-3770K at 4.50GHz, 16 GB Kingston “Beast” HyperX DDR3 at 2133MHz, and an EVGA Z77 FTW motherboard. The EVGA FTW motherboard features the 16x+16x PCIe 3.0 specification for CrossFire/SLI. The Core i7-3770K at 4.5GHz is fast enough to differentiate even high-end video cards at high resolution and at high detail settings.
Before we look at our test bed and run benchmarks, let’s unbox our VisionTek R9 280X video card and look at its specifications.